In a showdown for first place in District 5-5A, the Denton Lady Broncos tried to put their bad luck against Wichita Falls Rider over the past few years behind them by attempting to control play to frustrate the offensively gifted Lady Raiders.
On Tuesday against Azle, which is winless in District 5-5A play, Denton was forcing turnovers at its usual high rate.
NORTH RICHLAND HILLS — In an overcrowded room of eager coaches and school district officials, Ryan coach Dave Henigan positioned himself in front of a large projection screen.
There were several junctures in Tuesday’s District 5-5A matchup at which Denton coach Harold Jackson told his team to ease up on its defensive pedigree.
Denton had a double-digit lead at halftime and as high as seven in the final quarter of the Broncos’ first crucial District 5-5A test against Wichita Falls Rider.
In one of the most prolific years of playoff runs for teams in the Denton area, two players from Denton and one from Lake Dallas were named to The Associated Press’ Class 5A all-state team Wednesday.
After last week’s six-point loss to Trophy Club Nelson dropped Denton to 3-8, Lady Broncos coach Erin Taylor directed her team’s focus to the future.
As the Broncos made their third-quarter run, McKinney North’s turnovers began to snowball and Denton’s offense began to flourish.
JUSTIN — Facing the Aledo Bearcats for the second consecutive season in the Class 5A Division I Region I area round at Northwest ISD Stadium, the Denton Broncos knew they had to put together a near perfect game to take down the defending state champs. It was Aledo that played the mistake free game, using a balanced blend of run and pass to expose the Denton defense and with the Bearcats scoring on their first three drives of the game, the Broncos were facing a severe uphill climb from the get-go. Denton’s offense struggled and Aledo kept its foot on the gas pedal and breezed its way into the regional semifinals with a 52-3 victory on Friday.
The Denton Broncos did just about all they could to improve their playoff positioning from a season ago. They already have one more win than last season with nine, and their 6-1 District 5-5A record earned them a share of the district crown for the first time since 1999.
ARLINGTON — In one of Denton’s strangest and lowest-scoring games of the season, its usual offensive suspects were nowhere to be found, with the Broncos totaling 154 yards of offense and running back Xavier Scott bottled up for just 32 yards on 16 carries.
Memories of last year’s playoffs have faded and a host of players have claimed new roles, but the Denton Broncos’ winning ways seem to be here to stay. For the second straight year, the Broncos match up with one of District 6-5A’s best in the opening round of the Class 5A playoffs. The Broncos drew Birdville last season, and at 9 p.m. today in the fourth scheduled game at Arlington’s AT&T Stadium, Denton dances with Grapevine, which has the same five-game winning streak and 8-2 overall record as the Broncos.
ABILENE — The Denton Lady Broncos showed they can compete with Class 5A’s second-ranked volleyball squad, Canyon Randall, on Friday in the Region I semifinals at McMurry’s Kimbrell Arena. As was the case all night, though, Randall had an answer each time Denton tried to pull away en route to a 25-16, 25-20, 22-25, 25-23 victory for the Lady Raiders.
JACKSBORO — Having lost both of their regular season games to Wichita Falls Rider and coming in third in District 5-5A behind the Lady Raiders, Denton already had a chip on its shoulder.
In last year’s regular-season finale against Wichita Falls, the Denton Broncos didn’t have much to play for. As Denton enters the final game of the regular season this time around against the Coyotes — at 7 tonight at Memorial Stadium in Wichita Falls — Scott and the Broncos have a chance to earn a share of the District 5-5A championship with Saginaw Boswell, something that hasn’t happened since 1999.
Nearly a year ago to the day, Denton and Lake Dallas faced off in a thrilling Class 5A bi-district playoff match. The Lady Broncos led by two sets before Kenzie Dozier collided with a teammate and was forced from the match. With Dozier’s head in her hands on the bench, the Lady Falcons rallied for a five-set victory.
As the top offensive threat for the Denton basketball team for the past couple years, not many people thought Emerson Espinoza would or could play football. At the beginning of last season, the wide receiver hurt his leg and was forced to miss the majority of the season, but with a full year under his belt and Colt Atkinson at quarterback, Espinoza, now a senior, is blossoming into a legitimate playmaker alongside running back Xavier Scott. With the district’s stingiest defensive team coming into Bronco Field looking to shut down Scott on Thursday for Denton’s last home game of the season, Atkinson and Espinoza leaned on their aerial attack for a 42-21 victory for an undefeated 5-0 home record on senior night.
Following the Broncos’ 56-14 throttling of last year’s District 5-5A champ Azle last week with a nearly 2-hour delay seeing them finish up just before midnight, Denton coach Kevin Atkinson gives a quick talk to his team before they split up into position groups for one final review of the game.
If the Denton Lady Broncos could bottle the start to Tuesday’s first set against District 5-5A unbeaten Boswell, they could have challenged for the district crown, however, the Lady Pioneers showed why they finished the season without a blemish to their record, rebounding from a shaky start to a 25-15, 25-18, 25-12 win.
AZLE -- Limiting the Azle Hornets to only one score on five first half possessions, the Denton Broncos already had the lead they needed against last year’s District 5-5A champion. Denton continued to pound away en route to a 56-14 victory.
In a matchup of the second-seeded Saginaw Boswell Pioneers and the third-seeded Denton Broncos in a Class 5A area tournament Tuesday at Boswell, Denton got three wins from its girls team before the tournament was cut short when the Pioneers took a 10-3 advantage, eliminating the Broncos.
The Denton Broncos tennis team knows what it takes to pull out a close victory. When they needed to come through most in their final two regular season matches of the fall season, the Broncos won four sets via tiebreaker for wins against Fort Worth Brewer and Azle to qualify for the area tournament.
Win or lose, Denton sticks to its traditions. Every time the Broncos turn onto Fulton Street and inch home from each road game, the team sings the school’s alma mater.
FORT WORTH — Down four points in the fourth quarter and facing a fourth-and-2 on their 31-yard line with less than four minutes left in the game, Xavier Scott and the Denton Broncos knew Brewer was going to bring the house to stop the run. So before the play, Scott looked to his teammates and said “be ready.” Scott was preparing his team for him to bounce the play outside the tackles to try to get the first down. Not only did Scott bounce the play outside, but he rumbled off a 56-yard run to get the ball to the Bears’ 13-yard line. Two plays later, Scott punched in the go-ahead touchdown to put Denton (5-2, 2-1 District 5-5A) ahead 40-37.
When Denton faced Wichita Falls just less than a month ago, it pushed the Lady Broncos to four sets, but they still came away victorious despite feeling like they could have done much better defensively.
SAGINAW — After each team traded blows in a contentious first half, Denton found itself staring at a 10-point deficit early in the third quarter. Denton didn’t give in, though, fighting back to tie the game at 31 just a few minutes later. With its defense finally delivering a clutch stop, the Broncos seemed poised to take the lead.
After claiming their first two sets against Azle, the Denton Lady Broncos took a 10-point lead in the third frame and looked to have righted the ship after a disappointing start to the set.
Denton coach Kevin Atkinson implored his team to be “nine strong” heading into Friday’s matchup with Saginaw Chisholm Trail. Atkinson knew each one of the Broncos’ nine position groups needed to be at capacity and when they needed it most, the Broncos used an explosive play from the depths of their roster to separate themselves from the Rangers in the first, crucial District 5-5A showdown of the season.
Denton coach Kevin Atkinson doesn’t put much stock in predictions. In this year’s District 5-5A entry in Dave Campbell’s Texas Football, the Saginaw Chisholm Trail Rangers are projected to finish eighth out of eight teams.
Denton senior linebacker David Guajardo has been told since he was in elementary school-level football he wasn’t athletic enough to be a starter.